political forum

The Times will host a political forum for Pierce County Sheriff’s candidates as planned — but the format will be a unique one.

The forum will be conducted digitally and video will

be available on The Times’ Facebook page and website at 7 p.m. Friday, May 22.

The forum was originally planned for Monday, April 20, but was postponed owing to the threat posed by COVID-19 (coronavirus).

“We want to be able to offer voters a chance to hear from the candidates, but at the same time, we want to protect everyone’s health and safety,” said Times publisher Matt Gardner. “Doing the forum digitally will allow us to strike the right balance between the two.”

Sheriff Ramsey Bennett is being challenged by Blackshear Police Department Major Robby Boatright, retired Georgia Department of Natural Resources Ranger Gary Simmons and retired Georgia State Patrol Trooper Greg Stone. All candidates have committed to participate in the forum except Stone. The election will be featured in the general primary June 9. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. at Eagle Station in Patterson and at the Pierce County Gym  behind the Southeast Georgia Regional Agriculture Center in Blackshear. If no candidate receives a majority of the vote, a run-off will take place August 11.

The format will feature all participating candidates in an event pre-recorded at Emmanuel Baptist Church. Times News Editor Sarah Gove will serve as the moderator and Chamber executive director Angela Manders will be the timekeeper. Each candidate will be allowed to give an opening and closing statement and Gove will pose questions to the candidates.

The Times is also still accepting questions from the public to be posed to the candidates.

Those who would like to submit questions to The Times for consideration may email them to Gove at sgove@blacksheartimes.news, bring questions by The Times’ office at 121 S. Central Ave., or mail them to P.O. Box 410 Blackshear, GA 31516.

Questions will be reviewed and selected by The Times based on their merit.